So… here’s the culinary highlight of my trip to the Philippines… Cebu Lechon. Lechon is a whole pig, slow roasted over charcoal. Every area of the Philippines has their unique take on it (and, of course, thinks that their version is the best), but among neutral outsiders, Cebu Lechon is ususally quite high up the list. If you’re a fan of Anothony Bourdain’s show ‘No Reservations’, you may remember that in his Philippines episode, he referred to Cebu Lechon as “The best pig ever”. He is not incorrect.
I was in Cebu in early / mid December, and in IT Park, they had a Christmas Bazaar set up. There were several Lechon stands there, but my colleagues told me not to worry – they would pick out the best one, and they did not disappoint. This is an entire pig, slow roasted, and hacked to pieces. The skin is very crispy, and everything just falls apart. At least in the Christmas Bazaar, they serve you a heaping portion on a paper plate, and give you a plastic bag and some dipping sauce. You put the plastic bag over your hand like a glove, and just tear in. The dipping sauce is part soy sauce, part vinegar, and has some *very* spicy tiny little peppers floating around in it. A single portion with a Coca Cola in a glass bottle is about 53 Pesos – which is about $1.25 or so.
Now.. if you’re in Delaware, you can stop by the Philippine Bread House near Prices Corner and get a taste for yourself. It’s not Cebu Lechon (and also not Cebu prices), and it’s served a bit differently, but it does hit the spot when you’re in need of a pork fix. I’m pretty sure they don’t use an entire pig, and oven roast it instead of over charcoal, but the Philippines are literally on the other side of the world, so I’ll take what I can get. Oh – if you are planning on stopping in to PBH, you’ll need to come on a Saturday, and COME EARLY. They sell out around noon. Seriously. People come in and order pounds upon pounds of it. It’s that good.